With a degree from the best dental hygiene schools, you can work towards bettering your community’s oral and overall health.
It is a gratifying career that can help you find employment in various industries, from nursing homes to schools.
This specialty area is ideal if you are looking for a fast-paced, high-demand environment.
To help you get started on the right track, we’ve reviewed five of the best dental hygiene schools nationwide. Each of these schools meets the following criteria:
- An average annual cost of no more than $11,000
- A median starting salary no lower than $60,000
- Accredited programs by recognized bodies
5 Best Dental Hygiene Schools
1. The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
4 Year; San Antonio, TX
Average Annual Cost: $7,068
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is an excellent option for students interested in a diverse degree program. During your studies, you will work towards earning a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene as part of the Department of Periodontics. Students in this program excel in all tenets of oral health, oral disease prevention, and community service.
Once you’ve finished your program, you will receive preparation for the National Dental Hygiene Board Examination. Also, students will study for state and regional exams and a jurisprudence exam. It is a well-rounded program that will make you a competitive hire when looking for a career.
There is a multitude of courses that this program offers to prospective students. With two years of upper-level coursework, you will be adequately prepared for licensure. You will also gain plenty of clinical experience working alongside the UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry.
If you want a program that combines both in-class and real-world learning, this is one of the top recommendations. You can expect to work with real patients at the UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry. With a 90% pass rate for the licensing exam, it is a great program for prospective dental hygienists.
2. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
4 Year; Little Rock, AR
Average Annual Cost: $8,147
The dental hygienist program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is fast-paced and stimulating. You will focus on clinical research, health services, and patient care during your studies. By the time you’re ready for graduation, you will feel confident in your skills as an allied health professional.
Students will explore other central tenets of this program, such as providing competent and ethical procedures to the community. With the diverse curriculum, you will unlock an improved learning environment that promotes community service, professional development, and scientific inquiry. Overall, it’s one of the better options to work towards providing compassionate and professional patient care through oral health education.
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences offers a combination of on-campus and online courses to help you earn your degree. There are also specialized courses to consider for your specific interest areas, such as Local Anesthesia for Dental Hygienists. It’s important to note that this program is one of the more rigorous you can sign up for.
At the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, students are expected to provide a full-time weekday commitment. You will have a blend of labs, classes, and clinical sessions between 8 AM and 5 PM from Monday to Friday. There aren’t any evening classes, but you can supplement some with hybrid courses.
3. Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center – New Orleans
4 Year; New Orleans, LA
Average Annual Cost: $8,644
The dental hygiene program at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center – New Orleans is in-depth. In fact, it is one of the most comprehensive programs you will find, exploring every area of dental hygiene and oral health. Students will experience a variety of learning opportunities, such as:
- Taking teeth X-rays
- Administering local anesthesia
- Administering oxygen and nitrous oxide
- Counseling patients on oral health
- Performing cancer screenings
- Reviewing medical histories and charting teeth
- Removing deposits and applying sealants and fluoride
Another massive part of this program is teaching students how to work in a collaborative environment. During your studies, you will get experience working in groups and alongside faculty and healthcare professionals. Upon completion of the program, you will be well-equipped to work with dentists to meet the needs of their patients.
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center – New Orleans is another rigorous program, ideal for serious candidates. You’ll be required to get 80 hours of job shadowing or volunteering with dental professionals. Students will also need to take skilled testing, including the Dental Admissions Test or the Admissions Test for Dental Hygiene.
The investment this degree requires is well worth your time because you will obtain a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene after your studies. After passing your examinations, you can then move on to a specialty or go straight into employment.
4. The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
4 Year; Houston, TX
Average Annual Cost: $10,087
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston creates a graduating class of career-ready students. You will work alongside nationally-recognized faculty members with real patients and in simulation labs. Students will also have access to state-of-the-art facilities to help further their learning.
Currently, the school offers a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene degree. They also have an RDH-to-BSDH program, helping existing professionals upgrade their credentials. Another alternative is to take advantage of the Post-Degree Certificate in Dental Hygiene.
If you have a degree in a different topic, the Post-Degree Certificate can help you specialize in dental hygiene. It’s a fantastic solution if you’ve been interested in switching careers. As a further learning opportunity, enroll in the school’s Master of Science in Dental Hygiene to be a more developed professional.
5. University of Nebraska Medical Center
4 Year; Omaha, NE
Average Annual Cost: $10,538
The University of Nebraska Medical Center helps students earn their dental hygienist degree within four years. It is an accredited program that helps students meet the requirements for licensure examinations. After finishing the program, you’ll obtain a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene degree.
If you’re looking for a university that offers smaller class sizes, this program is ideal. Students will have more one-on-one learning opportunities, fostering a community environment in the classroom. Also, you can explore a variety of hands-on learning opportunities using the school’s fantastic clinical model.
Not only will you work in state-of-the-art labs but also alongside actual patients in real settings. With this approach, you’ll gather more real-world experience to help further your career and contribute to your community. Undoubtedly, this program explores multiple essential concepts of dental hygiene, including:
- Clinical Dental Radiology
- Dental Materials
- Oral Pathology
- Research Methodology
- Clinical Techniques
- Community Dental Health